COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – The Tamil Tiger rebels admitted defeat in their 25-year-old war with the Sri Lankan government Sunday, offering to lay down their guns as government forces swept across their last strongholds in the northeast.
The rebels, who once controlled a wide swath of the north, have been routed by government forces in recent months. On Sunday, Tamil Tiger suicide bombers targeted troops clearing out the last pockets of rebel resistance in the war zone and troops killed at least 70 rebels trying to flee by boat, the military said.
On Sunday afternoon, the tattered and nearly defeated rebel group offered to lay down its arms, saying it was acting to protect he wounded in the war zone.
After repeated stalemates on the battlefield, the military broke through the rebel lines last year and forced the insurgents into a broad retreat, capturing their administrative capital at Kilinochchi in January and vowing to retake control over the rest of the country.
The rebels have insisted that if defeated in conventional battle, they will return to their guerrilla roots.
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